Jails aren’t so sexy. People usually do not want to know what’s going on with criminals sent away, either because they don’t care for criminals (usual right-wing standpoint) or would not like to know that criminals aren’t nice (usual left-wing standpoint). Oz was probably one of the first show about jails, an über-smart one, neither presenting criminals like cools guys or the jail system as a perfectly working thing. No, there’s lot of violence in Oz, because criminals there are nasty, for whatever reason (just plain evil or mad, whatever), because they have to get even nastier to survive among worse than them. And the system, as it probably works in most european and north-american countries, -avoiding visible riots by letting the inmates actually ruling the place, running drugs, etc- is put under clever scrutiny. Oz was precursor to shows like The Wire.
No I wont even say a word about Prison Break; makes me think about this new show Under the Dome and it’s Lost-overly-stupid-seven-season-to-know-about-plot look an feel.
Obviously, only Brits could make an awkwardly funny show about being jail. That’s Dead Boss. The main character there is jailed for a crime she did not commit. And everybody around her make their best so it stays that way. The pitch does not sound funny at all. So you have to try it for yourself. It works best if you like Father Ted and such. Second season is still to be announced. If you hear me at BBC3, I’m waiting guys!
And this leads me to Orange Is the New Black. Since it is north-american, it’s less depressing and and gross than Dead Boss – like The Office UK vs The Office US. So far I’ve only watched three episodes, but I’m curious about it. It’s not as serious as Oz, not as gross and fun as Dead Boss, I don’t know exactly where it’ll lead to, neither if it is supposed to be comedy or drama. There is only mild violences, criminals there aren’t so tough (I guess you’d expect only mild violence from a women jail, but if you think this through, since women rarely commit crimes leading to jail time, the profile of the one that did is probably not so nice, it’s surely quite the contrary) and the whole setup isn’t really to be made fun of. I wonder (and, yeah, maybe I should have posted this later, after watching more episodes, maybe I should have). Let him go let him go! Ahem, I should probably mention Regina Spektor made the show music, heavy stuff.